Woking goes to the polls – spotlight on Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour candidates

SERVICES PLEDGE – Conservative May 3 candidates with fellow local Tories (left to right) Cllr Tony Branagan, Cllr Graham Chrystie, Cllr Michael Smith, Cllr Glynis Preshaw, Colin Kemp, Cllr John Kingsbury, Saj Hussain, Cllr David Bittleston, Cllr Dorothy Farrant, John Lawrence, Cllr Anne Murray, Colin Scott, Carol Brailsford, Raza Babar, Cllr Gary Elson

A FREEZE in council tax but no cuts to services was the bold promise made at Woking Conservatives’ local election manifesto launch.

Woking Borough Council leader John Kingsbury said the Tories were aiming for a zero tax rise for a third year.

Yet they were also planning to invest more money in community and play facilities.

Outlining the six May 3 elections promises, Cllr Kingsbury said: “Everything we are pledging comes from what the
public told us they wanted.

“We made a very impressive achievement with our pledges last year.

“In a difficult economic climate, there is a lot of good news for people in Woking.

“I hope residents will take time to look at our manifesto.”

Woking MP Jonathan Lord MP insisted: “This manifesto is a clear vision for the borough.”

The six key pledges are:

1. Maintain record of low council tax after zero rises in Woking’s share for two years.

2. Continue investing to attract new business and jobs, particularly for young people, and offer better shopping.

3. Aim towards a 65 per cent recycling target and innovative ideas for more collections.

4. Improve publicly accessible green spaces and deliver new play and sports facilities for children and young people.

5. Invest in more commmunity buildings, such as St Johns Memorial
Hall, Horsell Villlage Hall, a new Horsell scouts and guides building and other community projects.

6. Tackle dog fouling in new Foul Play campaign.

Cllr Kingsbury added: “The Conservative administration has been working very hard to meet the pledges we made this
time last year and we think we have fulfilled them.”

Leisure services portfolio holder David Bittleston said: “We made excellent progress completing new sports facilities, such as a pavilion and junior pitches on the former Astra site at Byfleet. We have continued to invest in the local economy and community facilities and many investments are making money for the council too.”

May 3 Conservative candidates

Brookwood: Kevin Davis
Byfleet: Carol Brailsford
Goldsworth East: Colin Kemp
Goldsworth West: Laura Ashall
Horsell West: Tony Branagan
Horsell East and Woodham: Michael Smith
Kingfield, Westfield and Barnsbury: John Lawrence
Knaphill: Saj Hussain
Maybury and Sheerwater: Raza Baber
Mount Hermon West: Colin Scott
Mount Hermon East: David Bittleston
Pyrford: Ashley Bowes


READY TO DO BATTLE – Cllr Ian Eastwood, Cllr Anne Roberts, Norman Johns, Lisa Harding, Cllr Amanda Coulson, James Sanderson and Cllr Ian Johnson

WOKING Liberal Democrats pride themselves on that fact that the Hoe Valley scheme has now been completed.

The £44million project will  protect hundreds of homes from flooding and provides community buildings for local groups.

But the party claim the current Conservative leader and deputy tried to postpone the project for six months, which would have effectively ended with the loss of a multi-million pound grant from the Environment Agency.

Liberal Democrat leader Richard Sharp said: “As the only opposition to the Conservatives at Woking Borough Council, the Tories always like to take all the credit but there are Lib-Dem fingerprints all over the successes of the council.

“The Hoe Valley project would not have happened without Lib-Dem councillors.

“The consultations on Commercial Way, Bedser Bridge and Brookwood Farm were all championed by Lib-Dem councillors.”

Cllr Sharp questioned whether residents can trust that the Tories will deliver their council tax promise with no likelihood of extra Government funding.

He added: “The nil increase in Woking council tax is completely supported by the Lib-Dems, in stark contrast to the 2.99 per cent increase at Surrey County Council – there you can see the arrogance of a large Tory majority.”

The Lib-Dems’ five key election pledges are:

1. We will spend your money wisely and fairly.

2. We will help you build strong and secure neighbourhoods.

3. We will invest in our environment.

4. We will listen and trust local people.

5. We will prioritise those in need.

Successfully targeting anti-social behaviour has been a major achievement for Goldsworth East’s Cllr Amanda Coulson.

She said: “Having worked as a journalist in Johannesburg, I’m not intimidated by drug dealers and I will fight with every ounce of strength to rid our area of this horror. I will continue to work with the police to tackle issues and make the ward a safe place for everyone.

“Working with the council’s new housing management team, I will leave no stone unturned to ensure we do not have residents taking part in anti-social behaviour or criminal activities.”

Having been a campaigner in Knaphill for 18 months, Lisa Harding said: “Working alongside my Lib-Dem councillors I have been able to address residents’ issues, such as getting new rubbish bins, having fly-tipping and litter cleared up, and getting street lamps and pathways repaired.

“I also fully support residents’ demand for action to tackle the dog fouling issue. As a dog owner myself it frustrates me when others do not clear up after their dogs.”

Cllr Sharp added: “Only the Lib-Dems can counteract the right-wing Tories who do not care about social welfare and those in need.”

May 3 Lib-Dem candidates

Brookwood: Norman Johns
Byfleet: Anne Roberts
Goldsworth East: Amanda Coulson
Goldsworth West: Ian Eastwood
Horsell East and Woodham: James Sanderson
Horsell West: Rosemary Johnson
Kingfield, Westfield and Barnsbury: Derek McCrum
Knaphill: Lisa Harding
Maybury and Sheerwater:
Mohammed Bashir
Mount Hermon East: Michael Wilson
Mount Hermon West: Ian Johnson
Pyrford: Andy Grimshaw

END THE VACUUM – Woking Labour party chairman Paul Blagbrough with Tom Crisp, Liz Evans and Mohammad Ali

MONEY wasted by the 20 Conservatives and 16 Lib-Dems – and loss of public transport – are major concerns for Labour.

And without a council representative the party believes lack of political control has created a vacuum in the borough offices.

Maybury and Sheerwater candidate Mohammad Ali said: “The council’s energy services company, Thameswey, needs careful review to see it always acts in the interests of the people.”

With parking hikes a big issue, Mr Ali helped organise a public meeting in Maybury against the pay-and-display rises.

He also raised the subject of soaring costs at the Surrey Local Committee.

He said: “I collected a petition but the councillor did not speak in support of it. And, even though the ward is one of the most deprived in Surrey, he spent £5,000 of his fund in the town centre, not on the ward.”

Kingfield, Westfield and Barnsbury candidate Paul Brown said: “There is a lot to do in the ward, and ineffectual councillors have not worked hard enough for the residents. I can’t promise I will succeed in everything, but I will work with energy and commitment to bring about change.”

Goldsworth East candidate Tom Crisp has a track record of fighting for better services. He is a solicitor specialising in housing and support needs.

He said: “I will push for more affordable homes to buy and rent, and press the council to support vulnerable residents. I will also oppose further cuts in local bus services.”

Mount Hermon West candidate Liz Evans said: “Stop using parking charges as a piggy-bank. It puts our shops in peril and drives people out of the town centre and on to the internet.”

May 3 Labour candidates

Brookwood: Rebecca Geach
Byfleet: Anthony Mullins
Goldsworth East: Tom Crisp
Goldsworth West: Janice Worgan
Horsell East and Woodham: Jill Rawling
Horsell West: Colin Bright
Kingfield, Westfield and Barnsbury: Paul Brown
Knaphill: Peter Ford
Maybury and Sheerwater: Mohammad Ali
Mount Hermon East: Sabir Hussain
Mount Hermon West: Liz Evans
Pyrford: Michael Wood


Full list of candidates contesting 12 wards on May 3

Brookwood: Kevin Davis (Con), Rebecca Geach (Lab), Norman Johns (Lib-Dem).

Byfleet: Carol Brailsford (Con), Anthony Mullins (Lab), Anne Roberts (Lib-Dem), Mathew Waters (UKIP).

Goldsworth East: Amanda Coulson (Lib-Dem), Tom Crisp (Lab), Colin Kemp (Con), Pamela Wellstead (UKIP).

Goldsworth West: Laura Ashall (Con), Ian Eastwood (Lib-Dem), Janice Worgan (Lab).

Horsell East and Woodham: Michael Smith (Con), James Sanderson (Lib-Dem), Jill Rawling (Lab), Terry Knight (UKIP).

Horsell West: Tony Branagan (Con), Rosemary Shaw (Lib-Dem), Timothy Shaw (UKIP), Colin Bright (Lab).

Kingfield, Westfield and Barnsbury: Derek McCrum (Lib-Dem), John Lawrence (Con), Paul Brown (Lab), Rob Burberry (UKIP), Julie Roxburgh (Peace Party).

Knaphill: Saj Hussain (Con), Lisa Harding (Lib-Dem), Peter Ford (Lab), Matthew Davies (UKIP).

Maybury and Sheerwater: Mohammed Bashir (Lib-Dem), Mohammad Ali (Lab), Razar Babar (Con), David Roe (UKIP).

Mount Hermon East: David Bittleston (Con), Sabir Hussain (Lab), Michael Wilson (Lib-Dem).

Mount Hermon West: Ian Johnson (Lib-Dem), Elizabeth Evans (Lab), Colin Scott (Con), Francis Squire (UKIP).

Pyrford: Ashley Bowes (Con), Andy Grimshaw (Lib-Dem), Michael Wood (Lab), Robin Milner (UKIP).


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About the Author: Andy Fitzsimon